Sunday, July 22, 2012

Of Beaches (again!), Cousins (again!), Kites and Gratitude {Sunday Snapshot}

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It has just been a summer of feeling settled around here. We started our first adoption in 2004...and since that time, we have been "waiting"...first for Lia (home in February 2006)...and then for our second China adoption. Standing at the window in Xi'An China with Lia the night before we took her away from the only life she knew, I shed some tears and promised her (in a MOST over emotional, first time mother tired and overwhelmed way) that we WOULD return to her homeland one day...and I KNEW that there was going to be another daughter for our family.

Little did we know HOW long it would be until we met her. Our second adoption...begun in the spring of 2007 took so many twists and turns...renewing paperwork, praying for a speed-up, happily living our lives with Lia...but always waiting.

While it makes sense that the waiting would become easier over time...the last 6 months...after we had been matched with Jillian were definitely the most trying for me. Last summer, especially, was so bittersweet...going through the motions...while knowing "the rest of our story" was waiting for us on the other side of the world. Each morning, when I awoke, I said a prayer of safe-keeping for my Jillian...being tucked in to sleep...and each night, a prayer of safe-keeping for her new day. It just about did me in. Some of the hardest days I have known.

But THIS summer?

Everything is different. And it's ALL good.

And for the first time in almost 8 years (!), my heart is settled. Blessings abound. And we are enjoying this sweet sweet season more than I could have imagined.

It have been wonderful to spend time with our families...welcoming Jim's brother and his family home from a year in Brazil (we were able to Skype them from China...how fun that was!), spending extended time with the grandparents...and introducing Jillian to all of her cousins.

We're ALL about girls in our family. My girls have 6 cousins...not a boy among them. Jillian is the youngest and most likely the last of this cousin posse. Thankfully they do not spoil her at all.

Ha! :-)

This year, in addition to Jillian, we were thrilled to bring our niece, Eva, with us to the beach for the first time.

All mad cello playing, 6 ft. of her. :-)

Both girls were ecstatic...especially Lia...who quite possibly broke a record for thinking up questions to ask Eva during dinner (and every other waking moment). The good news is...we know now what Eva's favorite vegetable and fruit are...and what they are not...and pretty much every other bit of trivia about her. Good stuff. We love that girl...and it was fun to get to know some new things about her! :-)

Our first few days at the beach were chilly. Even so, the call of the waves was strong...so we bundled up one evening determined to fly our kite!

While Jim fought with the temperamental kite...the girls took some time to explore...undeterred by the chill in the air.

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I got Lia to stand still just long enough to snap this photo. In EVERY other photo from this night, she is on the move...she loves the beach SO much she has a hard time NOT skipping or dancing ALLTHETIME.

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Eva was a little more patient.

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Jillian insisted on getting in on the act. :-) (She's obviously VERY serious about it! If she wants to be in the photo...well...I can't bring myself to stop her (I may be guilty of slight spoiing myself). I aim to please. (At least where photos are involved. Can you blame me???)

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Going back through my photos to document our time with Eva, this one caught my eye. To me, it is a photo that speaks 10,000 words...and I could just put my mom goggles on and stare at it all day long. So poignant to this season in our lives...

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And on this...Jillian's second time on the beach...she decided she liked the sand. Despite the lack of sand implements, she sat right down and started to play. While technically a snapshot, taken on the fly...this photo is one of my all time favorites of my Guangzhou girl. Just like her big sister, she takes her mother's breath away...

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Finally...Eva. Did I mention she is 6 ft. tall?

I am not 6 ft. tall.

So my decision to photograph her standing, with the water in the background became somewhat problematic. Changing perspective is sort of photography 101 for dynamic portraiture. I usually take a step stool with me to sessions to help with that actually. But I didn't have one on the beach of course. The only way I could have shot Eva was from below. At a steep angle (sigh). So I set the shot up...and handed the camera to Jim.

All hunky 6 foot 2 of him. :-)

And he snapped it for me.

He's so handy sometimes.

I think I'll keep him.

:-)

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Sadly...the kite never really took flight...but this golden night...and the week that followed will surely remain perfect memories for the rest of our days. The days, home with our Jillian, that we began the rest of our lives...blissfully complete and so so grateful.
Canon 50d
ISO 200
f/1.8
1/6400
{Edited with actions from the Florabella Collection}
It's Sunday...so I am linking up with Stefanie's Sunday Snapshot!

Ni Hao Yall

10 comments:

Eva said...

Okay, so you KNOW I'm diggin' your niece's name. ;) And how funny...my family is full of girlie cousins too! My gramma was so tickled when the first one of us got married. She finally had her "grandson"!

These are beautiful shots. What a special time together.

Gina @ Gigi Marie Photography said...

Oh how I love this story & the beautiful images to go with it. So wonderful getting to know this very private & intimate part of your life. Blessings to you!!!

living out His love said...

Love the lighting in these shots! Gorgeous!

Gail said...

Beautiful on so many levels...images and words. These are all fabulous.

Love how you have all girl cousins. We have lots of boys in our extended family.

Jen said...

I love your photos and your girls are beautiful. Jillian reminds me so much of my own daughter and melts my heart!

lori carolina said...

Can't blame ya one bit ~ she's so adorable!! This was wonderful to read, what a beautiful season of life to be in and I'm glad you're soaking it up, you deserve it after such a long journey to your beautiful girls!!!!:)
Eva is beautiful too, such lovely photos and wow, 6ft, love that!

Hannah said...

These are so awesome!! The light, the beach...and those beautiful faces. Love them.

quilt'n-mama said...

Beautiful pictures, I love the one of Jillian sitting in the sand. I'm sure she amazes you each day, I know our sweet Clara does, how thankful we are to be mommy and daddy to each of our special kiddos!

Sammons said...

Oh she just takes my breath away too!!!! Love the pictures, absolutely gorgeous!

Sammons said...

Oh she just takes my breath away too!!!! Love the pictures, absolutely gorgeous!